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Teams Told to Go to Ballparks in Case of Deal

Aired August 30, 2002 - 11:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We've all been watching goings on outside of Fenway Park, seeing the Boston Red Sox board onto busses there. We don't know what it means. We have just been guessing, but Josie Karp is in the thick of it, or at least outside of where the thick of it is, in New York, where owners and players have been meeting, tied up over whether there would be a strike.
Josie, what does it all mean? Do you have any good news for us?

JOSIE KARP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't know about that. I can tell, nobody one left here. They are still meeting, they are still talking. And the word I'm getting is that there was a conference call, and the players in Boston were told that they can get on the bus an make their way toward the plane as of right now for precautionary reasons. I guess that was the word one person used for me that, in case a deal gets done, they are closer to the plane, they are closer to their final destination, so that if a deal does get done, they will be ready to go tonight.

Again, they were told that, and according to someone I spoke to, they also were told similar things in Chicago about getting to the ballpark as if they are getting ready to play. But no deal done. No i's dotted and t's crossed just yet.

WHITFIELD: No deal done, but they certainly are feeling encouraged enough. That's pretty significant for them to at least give the green light for the players to make their way toward game time.

KARP: We have to read into it a little bit. The union wanted to be sure that there was never going to a picture that showed a sign of weakness, where the public would see players not knowing exactly what to do. When a guy arrives at a ballpark, we were led to believe, he was going there to play a game. So that's one conclusion that we can draw when we see guys go into a ballpark.

HARRIS: Josie, don't you think the last thing in the world players need to have happen is to have players right there at game time or have a stadium full of people in the stands, and then have this thing happen, or happen -- you know, just fall like a house of cards, and then have it yanked from them right as they are about to enjoy it. Don't you think they would like to tell fans up front that is not going to happen.

KARP: That's unfathomable. I can't see that ever happening. So pictures tell a thousand words. If you see them going to the ballpark, it walks like a duck, that's all can I tell you. HARRIS: See, that's what we're trying to say. We can't come right out and see it, but you've got to think that they would not want to have fans an hour before game time or two hours before game time, not knowing what's going to happen.

WHITFIELD: How cruel.

KARP: Especially after last night.

HARRIS: Exactly, exactly.

Boy, this is interesting.

Are you seeing much activity there at all, Josie?

KARP: I'm sorry, tell me one more time.

HARRIS: Are you seeing any kind of physical activity there in New York?

KARP: No, I'm just hearing they are still in meeting rooms, and they're still talking, and they're still going back and forth from room to room, trying to get this done.

WHITFIELD: OK, so you are not seeing any boxes going to that building for lunch, are you?

KARP: No, I haven't turned around, but I am hungry.

HARRIS: Have you heard anything about what might be the final sticking point? We have been talking with Ron Weingartner about it being possibly of what time the luxury tax expires on the contract.

KARP: Two things, luxury tax, whether there will be a luxury tax in the fourth year of the agreement and exactly when this agreement would expire. It's going to be a four-year agreement, but would it expire on October 31 or December 31.

The earlier the better as far as owners are concerned, so it appeared there was a trade on the table. The players would get the fact that there would not be a luxury tax in effect the fourth year of agreement, and the owners would get October 31, or a day near October 31 as a termination date. If indeed a deal has been struck, it's likely that trade went through.

WHITFIELD: Josie, thanks very much.

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